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Biotech / Medical : Plant Genomics Companies - Paradigm (PDGM) Agritope (AGTO)

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To: westes who started this subject9/14/2000 11:52:34 AM
From: nigel bates   of 10
Sept. 14, 2000--Agritope, Inc. (Nasdaq:AGTO - news), which recently announced an agreement to merge with Exelixis, Inc. (Nasdaq:EXEL - news), and Rohm and Haas Company (NYSE:ROH - news) today announced that they have entered into a technology development and marketing agreement to create a new plant transformation marker selection system for use in agricultural biotechnology.
When fully developed, the Agritope-Rohm and Haas transformation system will permit the rapid creation of improved plant varieties with traits valuable to both growers and consumers.
With this new transformation marker system, only transformed plants will produce an easily detected, naturally occurring plant compound that will enable the extremely efficient identification of transformed plants in the laboratory. This improved method will not use antibiotic or herbicide resistance in the selection process. An added benefit of this system is that the marker components will be rapidly eliminated from the plant via conventional plant breeding, facilitating the production of transgenic plants that contain only DNA of plant or synthetic origin.
This agreement brings together Rohm and Haas' ligand-inducible gene expression technology and Agritope's proprietary visual marker gene. Rohm and Haas is contributing synthetic ecdysone receptors and proprietary ligand inducer chemistry that precisely regulates gene expression. Combining this technology with Agritope's visual marker gene of plant origin and expertise in plant transformation and regeneration is expected to result in a new transformation marker system that can be used in a wide variety of crops.
``Agritope evaluated a variety of potential inducible gene expression technologies and concluded that the Rohm and Haas system is superior,'' said Adolph J. Ferro, president and chief executive officer of Agritope. ``We are enthusiastic about having an opportunity to work with a well-respected corporation of the caliber of Rohm and Haas.''
``Rohm and Haas has conducted pioneering research on ligand chemistry and receptor biology for over fifteen years,'' noted Thomas Tillett, Rohm and Haas Biotechnology Business Manager. ``Our ligand-inducible gene expression system provides tightly regulated, highly inducible gene expression under the control of safe and effective ligand inducers. We are looking forward to partnering with Agritope to develop this important enabling technology for the agricultural biotechnology industry.''
The agreement provides that the research program will be conducted at both Agritope and Rohm and Haas facilities. Rohm and Haas will manufacture the ligand and market the transformation marker system. Royalties will be shared equally by both parties.
In July 1999, Rohm and Haas announced its first partnership in gene regulation with the formation of RHeoGene LLC, a joint venture with Argonex, Inc (Charlottesville, Va.). RHeoGene is developing technology for the controlled expression of genes for use in cell-based assays for drug discovery and in human gene therapy.
Rohm and Haas is a specialty chemical company whose products consistently improve the quality of life for people around the world. Rohm and Haas technology is found in paintings and coatings, adhesives and sealants, household products, personal computers and electronic components, and construction materials. It also brings food to the table-fruits and vegetables-and salt, an essential ingredient for life. Rohm and Haas has annual sales of approximately $7 billion and employs more than 21,000 people. The company operates approximately 150 manufacturing and research sites in 25 countries around the world.
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